“Why We Hate” is a new feature, devoted to the latest objects of universal loathe and rejection. One might wonder why such a feature is necessary, but one would be foolish and naive. We are a generation of turncoats. We turn in droves, and when we turn, we leave a searing circle of burning hate in our wake.
The current recipient of our hate circles? The pudgy dude who told Donnie Darko’s girlfriend “I like your boobs.”
I don’t know the exact date or place it happened, but somewhere between a 2003 episode of Dawson’s Creek in which he portrayed “Bob” and the recent release of Funny People, some decided that they no longer loved the schlub. Perhaps a timeline will clear things up.
1999 – He appears on one of the most beloved-by-the-twelve-people-who-watched-it shows of all time, Freaks and Geeks. Public opinion: Hugs and snuggles.
2001 – He stars in Undeclared, of which I only ever catch one episode (and the DVD of which now sits distantly in my Netflix queue), so I got nothing, but I love it on principle. Public opinion: “And you are…?”
2004 – He appears in Anchorman as the laughing cameraman in the cat show. He has one line. I say, “Hey, it’s Ken!” and them promptly forget he was in the movie until just now looking at IMDb. Public opinion: Too focused on Christina Applegate to notice.
2005 – He appears in The 40 Year Old Virgin, which instantly becomes one of my top five or six favorite comedies ever, and steals a good chunk of his scenes. Public opinion: Genius from Geniusville.
2006 – He appears in You, Me, and Dupree. I see it in the theater and not only forget he was in it, but forget I ever saw said film in the first place, and am going completely on the word of my boyfriend. Public opinion: “That guy’s pretty okay. But seriously, fuck Kate Hudson.”
2007 – Knocked Up happens. His awesomeness ignites the film career of buddies Jason Segel, Jay Baruchel and Martin Starr, two of whom previously languishing in post-Apatow television indie standstills, one of whom plays Marshall Eriksen, my favorite character on TV. His awesomeness also makes people ignore that Heigl wasn’t that good in the movie. Pubic opinion: Depends on who you ask. People who didn’t see/disliked the movie: “Hate him, and that movie was so unrealistic. She’s too hot for him.” People who saw/liked the movie – “Love him, but that movie was so unrealistic. He’s way too good for that harpy.”
2007 – Then Superbad happens, and becomes one of the most cherished comedies in years. Public opinion: On par with puppies and breathing.
2007-2008 – Various voice-over roles. Public opinion: Starting to shift slightly. Is this guy in everything?
2008 – Pineapple Express becomes beloved by stoners and non-stoners alike. Public opinion: We’re sorry we ever doubted you, snuggles, let’s blaze and hold hands.
2008 – Zack and Miri Make a Porno is seen by no one but me. Public opinion: Apparently confused and didn’t realize that the film wasn’t actually a porn, but even that doesn’t make the most sense, because I think more than $30 mmillion worth of people would have seen that out of curiosity alone.
2009 – Paul Blart, obviously made over a weekend, is released mere months before Observe and Report. Evidently there can be only one mall cop movie, and it has to be the one not about bipolar disorder and date rape. Public opinion: “He totally copied off Kevin James. Also, Segways! Hilarious!”
2009 – Funny People is advertised as a comedy and either people find out it isn’t and don’t see it, or people don’t find out, see it and tell everyone else to eschew a thoughtful movie. Because, you know, to hell with thought and thinking; it gets in the way of dick jokes. Also, he’s thin now. Public opinion: DIE DIE DIE!
God willing, this will shift before Green Hornet, but I’m not so sure. I’m also not sure how to help him. Overexposure is what’s being claimed the most, apart from “He was never funny and I hated him before you did and only Antony Hegarty understands me and I don’t own a TV,” but how does one become non-overexposed? It’s not his fault. He’s made good career choices. He’s just made them really close together.
I suppose the first “Why We Hate” should actually be a “Why You Hate?” but that sounds vaguely racist, and I know why you hate. I just don’t think you have good reasons. We cannot gather together and reject good comedy, people. Because you know who wins? Paul Blart, and Larry the Cable Guy, and Carlos Mencia, and somehow Twilight‘s in there too. I’m sorry that the Arrested Development movie’s not out yet, but in the meantime, this is about as good as it gets. So be nice to our Jew-nadian friend. He’ll get fat again soon, we promise.
Courtney Enlow is a writer living in Chicago and working as a corporate shill to pay the bills. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.